Tag Archives: Film

Ye Dowg

I happened across this vintage vehicle in the carpark of a local shopping centre recently. For a second or two I thought I was on the set of the Mad Max: Fury Road movie. 

After checking that there was no one around to give me funny looks, I quickly took a few snapshots of the car. The licence plate made me smile, and I wonder if the owner has a dog named Max, by any chance.

More Serendipity

I’ll be honest with you. I’m the least spiritual person I know. Now I realise that Spirituality and Religiousness are two different things, but I didn’t when I was younger. Many, many years ago, I thought I’d found Religion…but in actual fact what I’d found was the camaraderie that comes from belonging to a group. In my case it was the Youth Choir of our local church. I was more or less roped into it because I could play the piano.

It was fun, especially once the group discovered that I had a talent for scoring the more modern hymns and songs for multiple voices and parts. Suddenly the Youth Choir became a mellifluous, full-fledged SATB and then some choral sensation.

But whilst I enjoyed the musical aspect of that, the Spiritual or Religious side never struck me. And after a couple of years (I was still a teenager then), the group split up to get married or go into further education.

Between then and today, I’ve mildly dabbled in Tarot reading. Only because I was interested in esoteric origins of the Rider-Waite cards. I doubt I was any good at actually reading the cards.

Lately, however, I have been picking up on all sorts of signs and signals thrown out by the Universe. It may be that the Universe has always been throwing signs and signals my way, but I just wasn’t picking up on them, or if I was, perhaps I had not a clue what to make of them. The Key to deciphering the Message was missing.

2014 has been a year of Epiphanies for me. Perhaps it was my husband’s online infidelity with a mutual “friend” on Facebook that sparked it off in me. (They both make electronic music on their computers and although she is in America and hubby is in Australia, they managed to “collaborate” on much more than just Music, as I discovered. Even the fact that she’s old enough to be his mother didn’t stop them). Perhaps I needed that rude awakening to shake me out of my stupor, to sit up and start making sense of what the Universe was trying to tell me.

Those who know me know that I like to speak in metaphors and analogies. I guess that’s one way of distancing myself from the situation, to be able to stand back and view it from different angles. I have written about my husband’s affair and the aftermath of my finding out about it, in various ways right here on my blog. You only need to know where to look.

But anyway, back to my topic for today…

While discussing the height of someone’s heels on Facebook the other day, a friend brought up the subject of bound feet. Now, my own Paternal Grandmother had had bound feet – she could only hobble, and they exuded a sickly sweet odor whenever she removed her “lotus” shoes. My Maternal Grandmother, on the other hand, had fought the custom and defiantly removed her bindings at every opportunity she had…until eventually her family gave up on her. They said she would be cursed to live the life of a poor farmer’s wife, standing in the paddy fields all day with her big, ugly flat feet. Instead, Grandma became a teacher, and then the Principal of a Chinese School in Malaysia, bore 8 children and was the main breadwinner of the family.

There is an excellent book on the culture of foot binding, called “Splendid Slippers” by Beverley Jackson, if you are interested.

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So, onwards to Serendipitious Event No.1. The very next day after that discussion about foot binding on Facebook, I was in my local thrift shop when what should I come across but a reproduction pair of “Lotus shoes” in a glass case. Now, years ago I’d had a similar set of such shoes in red, which I’d brought home as a souvenir from a trip to Malacca in Malaysia. That had not survived 2 years of storage in damp Ireland, the shoes were mouldy by the time they arrived in Australia, and the glass case was broken.

But here was a pair of shoes in blue, in perfect condition. The only flaw was a split in the balsa wood base of the glass case.

If my finding this the very next day after talking about the exact same subject was not a sign from the Universe, then I must be blind.

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Serendipitious Event No.2. On Facebook, again, I’d been trying to convince people that Money is a an invention that we don’t need. Remove the whole concept of Money and its implications…and Civilization would simply carry on exactly the same. The only flaw in this plan lies with human nature itself – people are greedy, lazy and egoistic. Those qualities will prevent humans from embracing a moneyless society. There will always be someone who wants more, or who needs to hoard “for a rainy day”, who thinks he or she should grab as many items as they can and make a profit by selling them, or who decides to just be lazy and let everyone else do all the work. And there are those who believe they should be in charge and hold the purse strings, so to speak.

Anyway, a couple of years ago I’d read Stephenie Meyer’s book The Host, about a world where aliens had taken over most of humanity by latching on to their brains and sending the human’s sentience to permanent sleep. Only a few rebel humans were left that continued to defy the aliens’ plan for total domination. Mind you, these aliens were not bad, they were simply intelligent beings from a more advanced world, that believed in everyone being united in thought and deed, where everyone helped each other and worked towards the common good. They certainly did not suffer from greed, laziness or egoistical tendencies.

The aliens had a moneyless system which worked beautifully. If you were hungry, take what you need. Just remember to make a note of it so the restaurant/cafe/truck stop etc can order more in. If you need fuel for your car, again take what you need.
The station will simply make a tally for refueling purposes. Ditto medicines, consumables, clothes.

I love the whole concept and just wish the producers would have thought to factor that into the film “The Host” when they made it. Alas, the idea never made the crossover from book to film.

A couple of days ago I was searching for “The Host” in one of my local thrift shops…but they didn’t have it. Something made me go back to that shop today. And what do you know, there it was on the shelf.

Another sign from the Universe? You bet!

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Villa Epecuén

The 2010 remake of the film “And soon the darkness” centres around 2 American girls on a bicycle trip around Argentina in South America. One of them gets abducted, to be sold as a sex slave across the border in Paraguay. The other girl’s frantic search for her friend ends up at an eerie abandoned town by a lake, called “Villa del Lago”.

In reality there isn’t such a place as Villa del Lago. The setting for that in the film is actually an abandoned town called Villa Epecuén in the Buenos Aires province of Argentina. The town’s history is rather bizarre.

But first, in case you have never heard of the film or the town itself, and have not a clue what I’m talking about, here are some images from Google:

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And this is what happened to Villa Epecuén: it was a tourist spa, known for its saltwater lake’s curative properties, rather like the Dead Sea in Israel. Then one day in 1985 a dam broke and the entire town and surrounding area were inundated. Everyone was evacuated. In 1985 the water level was 1.2m high, but the area kept flooding and the water level rose to 10m by 1993. The waters did not recede until 2009, nearly 25 years later. When it did, the old buildings and trees arose in an eerie silvery haze. Only one man, 81 year old Pablo Novak, ever returned to live in Villa Epecuén.

image Pablo Novak in Villa Epecuén.

There is a video on Villa Epecuén, featuring an interview with Pablo Novak in the village. The video, which is in Spanish, also shows historical images of Villa Epecuén in its heyday, the bursting of the dam, and “before” and “after” photos.

http://youtu.be/PGe3ATcTWIg

Another video, “The Last Man of Epecuén”, contains English subtitles and follows Pablo Novak as he cycles around Villa Epecuén followed by his faithful dogs.

http://youtu.be/eRJE5qrxrI8

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Project Alice

Just a quick one today to let you all know about my preparations for my latest project “Project Alice”. Ever since I first read Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass when I was a kid, my fascination for all things Alice has never abated. It may have been on the backburner, other things may have drawn attention my away from it, but now and again, Alice sends me a gentle reminder that she is very much alive and kicking.

Suffice to say that my new project will be photography based, and right now I’m gathering the right ingredients for it. Basically, it will involve teacups again (as a hark back to my Madhatter’s Teaparty series), but this time I will also use other props such as white rabbits, playing cards, tiny bottles containing mysterious liquids, macarons (yes, seriously)…oh hey, why don’t I just share my Notepad with y’all right here:

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I have the teacups, white rabbits and chess set. With the playing cards I’m just narrowing down my selection on Etsy. I don’t need a whole set, just the suit of hearts or maybe even just the Royal Flush? The charms I can get from my local craft shop. I also have an Alice charm bracelet from Etsy coming in the post. I can get tiny corked bottles from my local discount store, and fill them with glitter and write “Drink Me” on them with a Sharpie pen.

It’s the macarons that might just be my downfall…I might have to buy a few boxes of them as I’m afraid I might not be able to follow the “shoot first, eat later” rule! 😀

Incidentally, one of my favourite film characters is also called Alice, from the Resident Evil franchise. In the films Alice is portrayed by supermodel-turned-actress Milla Jovovich. She is Dark Alice.

My Steampunk character for the upcoming Perth SupaNova (I will tell you about that other fascination of mine later) is called Darker Alice, and she’s a combination of the two Alices mentioned above.

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Coincidence, or Serendipity …or, the search for That Green Dress.

Isn’t Life funny?  Just the other day the kid and I were channel surfing on Foxtel, when we came across the Australian film “Goddess“.  In a nutshell, it’s the story of Elspeth Dickens, who used to sing at gigs in England but who has now followed her husband James to a remote outpost in Tasmania, along with little twin boys.  While James is off recording whale songs, away for months at a time, she’s left at home bored with playing the dutiful housewife.  One day she decides to rig up a webcam in her kitchen and record her “kitchen sink songs”…never realising that the world would be tuning in and watching her antics.  Never mind that she has gorgeous, dark looks like Nigella Lawson, and in one scene wears a beautiful dark green wrap-round dress with tabbed-up sleeves (that I’ve been desperately trying to find out more about, but have so far failed … if anyone knows where I can buy THAT dress, I’ll be eternally grateful!!), the girl can sing!

I’m placing Laura and Nigella side by side here, with my prediction that when they eventually make a film about the life of Nigella, it will be Laura who plays her.  You can see why, can’t you?

Nigella Lawson
Nigella Lawson
Laura Michelle Kelly
Laura Michelle Kelly

The wonderful Laura Michelle Kelly plays Elle (Elspeth), and the gorgeous Ronan Keating plays her whale-watcher husband Jimmy (James).  There is a beautiful song that Laura sings with Ronan, in a music-video-within-a-film scene, where the estranged couple are singing out their hearts’ anguish. The title of the song?  “Frozen Heart”.

Just the other day, I brought the kid to the cinema to watch Disney’s animated movie “Frozen“.  For a second, I was worried that Disney’s feel-good, family fun films might prove too childish for his 11-year-old sensibilities.  But I needn’t have worried.  “Frozen” has to be Disney’s best animated film of the year 2013.  I was moved to tears throughout the entire film.  Bravo, Disney!  The music is so fresh, original and wonderful that right after the movie, I went and bought the soundtrack… which I have since then found, is heading to topple the soundtrack of Titanic as longest No.1 run for a soundtrack.  http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/frozen-targeting-longest-no-1-682543

Told you I had a good ear for great music! 😉

But anyhow, the reason I’ve been compelled to write this post is simply to point out the coincidence, or call it serendipity if you will, of that one duet from “Goddess” and the theme for “Frozen”.  The duet’s title is “Frozen Heart”.  In the movie “Frozen”, Queen Elsa inadvertently sends a shard of frozen ice into the heart of her sister the Princess Anna, and only “an act of true love, can melt a frozen heart”.

There is a character in “Frozen” called Olaf.  He’s a snowman.  Don’t get me started on Olaf…he’s not terribly bright, but his heart is in the right place, and he comes out with the sweetest lines.  He wouldn’t think twice of giving up his life to save Princess Anna. He even likes the whole idea of Summer, even though it will mean the end of him.  Silly sod… but if you’ve watched the film, you’ll love Olaf too.

Here is THAT Green Dress that I love, can anyone help me find out who designed it, or where I can buy one like it?  I’m throwing this one out there into the world…someone please answer my prayers!

Elspeth's Green Dress in Goddess
Elspeth’s Green Dress in Goddess

P/s: (added 26th Feb 2014)
I found this YouTube video of the song “Frozen Heart”, sung by Laura Michelle Kelly and Ronan Keating, and thought I’d share it here with you. It’s MY song at the moment.

Frozen Heart

Artist inspiration – FLORENCE BROADHURST

At last, an artist from my side of the big pond. Florence Broadhurst was certainly a colourful character, and quite the adventuress too. Very daring for her time, you might say. For a woman to travel as much as Florence did, to be able to reinvent herself time and time again in different continents across the globe, to become a design icon in her 60s, is quite an achievement, yes. Maybe I’ll call her the Mata Hari of the design world.

Here is Florence’s official website, which will tell you more about the life, or rather, lives, she led.   http://www.florencebroadhurst.com.au  Here are some excerpts from it, so you can see just how adventurous this lady was:

“Years ahead of her time, the complex, eccentric and talented Florence Broadhurst was born in rural Queensland, Australia in 1899.

By the time of her death in 1977 Broadhurst had lived and worked in Australia, Asia, and England; performed professionally on stage; been befriended by royalty; exhibited her paintings; and started an internationally successful wallpaper company whose success was based upon her own designs.

A multi-talented legend, Broadhurst expressed herself creatively through multiple mediums, platforms and continents around the world. After winning a singing competition in 1915, Broadhurst started performing in various towns and cities in Queensland.

By the early 1920s, she was performing in India, South-East Asia and China. In 1926, Broadhurst founded a modern academy of arts in Shanghai, known as the Broadhurst Academy, offering tuition in violin, pianoforte, voice production, modern ballroom dancing, classical dancing, musical culture and journalism. Never one to settle, Broadhurst moved to London and reinvented herself as Madame Pellier, running a dress salon on Bond Street in 1933.

After spending more than a decade in the United Kingdom, Broadhurst returned to Australia and settled in Sydney where she started painting enthusiastically and prolifically. Transforming her creative talent into a business opportunity, she started a revolutionary wallpaper business in 1959, creating hundreds of unique and luxurious patterns with rich and vibrant colours all perfectly matching her flamboyant personality.

By the mid 1960s, her company monopolised the Australian market and started exporting to America, Peru, Paris, the Middle East and Norway. She continued to work actively until her death in 1977 at the age of 78.”

And this:

“Risk-taker par excellence, style maven extraordinaire, her most exhilarating legacy is a design archive making waves around the world today. But this is where her legend begins.

Born in 1899 in a remote rural corner of Australia’s Queensland, Florence’s death was a violent murder at the age of 78. In between, she lived a series of vivid, fantastic lives.

Charismatically fearless from word go, she spent the roaring Twenties singing across the Far East’s colonial reaches and ran a finishing school in Shanghai. In London, she became “Madame Pellier”, a French couturier proud to dress the rich and famous. She moved back to Australia as an aristocratic English lady; an entrepreneur, society figurehead and landscape painter.

With every incarnation Florence became somebody new – new hair colour, new accent, new history. Even, on occasion, new name. At the age of 60 she did it again, launching in Sydney her defining venture – an internationally-successful, luxury, hand-print wallpaper business.

She announced she would colour Australia. In so doing she re-drew the world. Everywhere she had been and everything she had seen found voice in a whirlwind of creativity. Florence’s archive grew to over 500 images ranging from tapestries to geometrics, florals, psychedelic, and delightfully eccentric chinoiserie.

Yet however dynamic and diverse her designs became, her personality was more compelling still.

Upon her death, Florence disappeared. Today, thanks to the passion of Sydney’s Signature Prints and Signature Design Archive, she is stepping back on to the international stage with designs that transcend fashion – work so boldly glamorous and versatile it speaks to innovators in every field.

“Her patterns are exceptional. They exist on the cusp of a paradox,” says British designer Ilse Crawford. “Every time you think you can sum them up, you can’t.”

To Deborah Lloyd, creative director of global luxury brand Kate Spade, the Florence Broadhurst archive is quite simply “ground-breaking and sensational” – “one of the most creative things that has come out of Australia.”

And behind each image is the woman herself, an endlessly restless spirit. Her eye was exquisite, her appeal fascinating, and her approach at times very naughty indeed.

Florence has been the subject of a multi award-winning, internationally published biography as well as a documentary directed by acclaimed director Gillian Armstrong!

She is a life, an enigma, a legend and a legacy. Florence Broadhurst – the story is not over yet.”

In Australia, Signature Prints has resurrected Florence Broadhurst by introducing a whole range of products using her designs. Not just wallpaper, but also room fragrances, bags and accessories, home decor, furniture, fashion apparel, etc etc etc. Why does Florence Broadhurst inspire me? Because she simply had it all and did it all fearlessly, and, I’m pretty sure that if her life hadn’t been cut short so tragically at 78 when she was found murdered in her studio, and if she were still alive, Florence would still be at it today. I do love strong women!

Watch this video by Signature Prints on how and why the company advocates the designs of Florence Broadhurst: http://youtu.be/m9T9V14Op-I

I’ve ordered Helen O’Neill’s book “Florence Broadhurst – Her Secret and Extraordinary Lives”, and can’t wait to start diving into it!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Florence-Broadhurst-Helen-ONeill/dp/1742700594/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389161475&sr=8-1&keywords=florence+broadhurst

florence-broadhurst book

Take 10 minutes of your time to read this article for Marie Claire magazine, by Helen O’Neill:

http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/marie-claire/features/society-celeb/article/-/5876164/florence-broadhurst-designs-on-success/

I’ll leave you here with a YouTube trailer of the Gillian Armstrong documentary “Unfolding Florence”: http://youtu.be/oIqlramFKkg  and some images from Google.

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2 Awesome Modern Choirs of today

Today I’m going to share with you my love for Classical Music, but with a modern-day twist. Two choirs spring to mind for Choral Music – Robert Prizeman’s all-boy choir “Libera”. The other is “Scala & Kolacny Brothers”, a female choir flanked by 2 Classically-trained brothers.

I have been a fan of Libera since 2000. When I first heard them I thought they were girls’ voices. Turns out they are a choir of young boys, most of whom have not broken their voices. My favourite albums by this group are their first 2 – “Libera” and “Luminosa”.

Have a listen here, on this link you can hear all the songs listed on the album “Luminosa”: http://www.last.fm/music/Libera/Luminosa

The other night I watched the 2011 German film “We Are The Night”, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Are_the_Night_(film). The subject was vampires, a genre I like, however the thing that impressed me most was the music right at the start of the film. It was a beautifully haunting choral piece sung by female voices, over a repeating groundbass of the sung words “Self-Fulfilling Prophecy”. It set the tone for the rest of the film, I thought.

The studio version of the song “Self-Fulfilling Prophecy”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsUjNAtbTmg

And here is the live version filmed in the USA in 2011, with the Kolacny brothers conducting and on piano:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bu9iUh-GN7g

In Secondary school, Junior College and Music College I sang in the choir. Choral music, especially SATB, is something that strikes a chord in me, especially in the Classical part of me. Any decent piece of music, to me, has to have an introduction, a development section, and a resolution. This has been ingrained in me from a young age. That, and a predominance of the use of the Piano as accompaniment. Which may account for why my current Tenori-On compositions have a strong harmonic structure, with development sections and resolutions, and more often than not, an A-B-A structure. I know of no other Tenori-On exponent who uses the instrument Classically as I do.

Which reminds me, I really have to get going with recording my pieces and setting them to videos for YouTube.

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